Both Denton Diablos and Fort Worth Vaqueros had qualified via NPSL rankings, and NTX Rayados had further extended the record for most qualifications via the open division qualification for the ninth straight season before US Soccer postponed the 2020 Open Cup. A revised schedule was drawn up for 2021 that gave the three qualifiers virtually no chance of being selected within a far smaller field of 24 teams in a diluted competition. With only eight MLS teams due to be selected, two-time winners FC Dallas would also have potentially missed out on competing for the cup named after former owner Lamar Hunt.
“Selfishly, I can’t say that I’m not pleased that they’re not playing at all this year if it’s not going to be what the spirit and the ethos of the competition is,” said Denton Diablos owner Damon Gochneaur. “Which is a chance for teams at all levels to earn their way and earned their right to compete against the best United States teams professionally and amateur. I’m pleased to see that the committee and the Board of Directors and US Soccer made what I think is the right decision, in scrapping the 2021 Open Cup.”
Applications for the qualifying phase opened last week, meaning the three teams, as well as Dallas City in NPSL, and USL League Two’s Texas United, and DFW’s UPSL teams would need to go through differing procedures to make the 2022 tournament rather than being automatically put through as the plan was for 2021.
For the 2021 edition, ten USL League Two places were prioritized to divisional winners. With a yet to be determined number of places for the 2022 tournament, the divisional winners would again receive spots 1-11, while any further availability would see teams ranked nationally by points per game in the 2021 season. Texas United ranks 21st, 32nd overall.
Of the NPSL, 14 teams were due to take part in the 2020 edition of the Open Cup. NPSL decides its nominees by the playoffs with the eight national quarterfinalists prioritized. Any additional spots are awarded geographically and prorated by the number of teams in each region starting with the regions those eight teams had originated from.
Denton Diablos will likely qualify by virtue of being one of eight teams to reach the national quarterfinals – In Denton’s case, the West Region final. Fort Worth Vaqueros and Dallas City both finished last in their divisions, falling well short of the required position to make the 2022 US Open Cup.
Four teams from the Metroplex contested the qualifying tournament in 2021. NTX Rayados of the NTPSA were joined by UPSL’s Lone Star Republic, Inocentes, and the now-defunct FC Fort Worth Soccer Club.
FC Dallas may see action early as one of the intended changes for the 2020 competition will come into effect in 2022. A number of MLS teams will enter in the third round based on previous season records. FC Dallas was set to be one of 11 teams to enter the third round in 2020 before the competition was canceled.
2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Competition Schedule
|Aug. 23 2021||Matchups for first qualifying round announced|
|Sep. 18-19||First qualifying round|
|Oct. 16-17||Second qualifying round|
|Nov. 20-21||Third qualifying round|
|Dec. 18-19||Fourth qualifying round (if needed)|
|Jan. 6 2022||Open Division berth allocation announced|
|Jan. 19||First round pairings announced|
|Mar. 22-23||First round|
|Apr. 5-7||Second round|
|Apr. 19-21||Third round|
|May 10-11||Round of 32|
|May 24-25||Round of 16|
|Sep. 6-7 or 13-14||Final|